The football team some thought was the best in the 5A Inland Empire League going into conference play gets a chance at redemption.
Coeur d’Alene survived a Kansas Tiebreaker on Monday with Post Falls and Lewiston. The Vikings, who fell to Post Falls 13-7 in a regular-season finale last Thursday, beat the Trojans twice, 7-6 and 7-0, before a crowd estimated at 1,000 at Lake City.
The Vikings (6-3) will get a shot at evening another score when they take on league champion Lake City (3-6) Friday at LC in the first round of the state playoffs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
LC upset CdA 23-15 two weeks ago. The Timberwolves clinched the league championship last Friday with a 49-19 win at Lewiston.
Post Falls beat Lewiston 6-0 in the first tiebreaker and then eliminated the Bengals 7-0 before facing off with the Viks a second time. PF (6-3) would have had to beat CdA twice at that point to earn the playoff berth.
“I would rather have just finished it the right way (in the regular season), but we’ll take it, man,” CdA coach Shawn Amos said. “These kids …. Everybody had threw us under … we were done. Everybody starts jumping off the bandwagon pretty quick. These kids kept believing. We had some internal issues (we were) dealing with today. These guys believe. That’s all that matters. We found a way.”
The issue Amos alluded to was the suspension Monday of four players – seniors Cade Mendoza (free safety/wide receiver), Travis Jankey (lineman) and Alex Kastens (lineman) and junior reserve Ryan Fenter (lineman) – for athletic code violations. Amos confirmed the suspensions, saying the players also will miss the playoff opener.
Both of CdA’s wins in the tiebreaker came on big plays after quarterback Ryan Dunton had been sacked.
In the first victory, Dunton found receiver Jake Matheson on a slant and he took it untouched 35 yards for a touchdown. In the second win, Dunton hit receiver Matt Lambert for a 34-yard TD. The speedy Lambert outraced a PF defensive back to the end zone.
“At least it was decided on the field and not by another funky thing, I guess,” PF coach Jeff Hinz said. “It wasn’t where we wanted to finish, but I still think this group of guys – this senior class – set the tone on a lot of different things.”
In Lewiston’s second round against PF, the Bengals (4-5) sent quarterback Justin Podrabsky out for a pass and he got tangled up with a Trojans defensive back inside the 5-yard line. Both players hit the ground and no penalty was called.
Lewiston coach Emmett Dougherty erupted, calling a timeout and giving the officials a couple of earfuls.
“One mistake can kill you. One missed call can kill you,” Dougherty said. “That didn’t win or lose it for us. (But) that was a big play. We were in position to score if we get that (pass interference).”